PK’s back


We announced some exciting news yesterday — that Paul Konerko would be returning to the White Sox for the 2014 season. Take a look at what Rick Hahn, Robin Ventura and Paul Konerko all had to say about the decision and what this will mean for the team moving forward.

Rick Hahn

On how tough it was to find the right fit for Konerko on the team:

“It wasn’t a difficult process on our end.  It was more about giving Paul the right information, time and space to come to his own decision about how he felt about the new role.  It was incumbent upon us to be honest with him and tell him straight how the fit would work out and how we envision the club moving forward.  I think it was more difficult for Paul, but we’re obviously pleased he came to this decision.”

 On negotiating the contract with Paul:

“I don’t think the money played a real large role in the decision for Paul.  He spent most of the time, when we met in November, discussing the role and opportunity with the club going forward.  In the last week or so did we put pen to paper on an offer and try to figure out the right parameters.”

 On Konerko’s new role with the team:

“He is going to have the opportunity to be used in a variety of roles as Robin sees fit on any given day.  That could be DH-ing against certain left-handed pitching, facing a tough righty here-and-there as we give Jose Abreu a chance to develop into an everyday first baseman.  A large part of the role and what we spent a large time talking to Paul about is his presence in the clubhouse and being able to continue to mentor some of our young players as we transition this roster over the next several months.”

 “He met with Todd Steverson in November as part of this process so he would understand Todd’s approach to hitting and the method Todd wants to teach.  I think Paul will play a role in reinforcing some of what Todd hopes to instill in our hitters.”

 “Paul represents what we hope young White Sox players evolve into being both on and off the field and having him around as a role model and mentor has a great deal of value to us as we turn over this roster.”

On how this impacts Adam Dunn’s role:

“I think Adam will be expected to deliver a high level of offensive performance, primarily against right-handed pitching. He may get fewer chances against lefties due to Paul’s presence, but that’s something that we’ve been discussing internally over the past several months and Adam is aware of it.  If anything, perhaps a day off here and there will help Adam.  Having most of his at-bats come out of the DH role should help him remain strong, and the matchups should remain favorable when he’s out there.”

On Paul’s role morphing into a coaching position when he retires:

“We haven’t gotten to that point yet.  Certainly as much as he’s meant to this organization and as bright of an individual that he is, it is something you can envision down the road.  The conversation at this point is about his playing career and not about what’s next.”

On priorities heading into the Winter Meetings:

“We still have work to do.  We want to continue to make steps towards retooling this offense. We’re not closing off any options that can help us get better, whether it’s on the position side of things, where we clearly feel we have need to improve, or even on the pitching side, where we feel is more of a strength right now. It’s more about finding the right fits for the long term.”

Robin Ventura

On Paul coming back:

 “It’s nice to have Paul’s presence here. I think he is looking forward to being productive on the field and have an impact off the field and in the clubhouse.”

On having Dunn/Konerko/Abreu:

“It’s trying to get those guys at-bats, match-ups will have something to do with it.  It’s not going to be set in stone that these guys will be playing on certain days.  There will be a bit of mixing and matching going on, but the type of individuals I’ll be dealing with and how professional they are I don’t sit and bang my head over it.”

Paul Konerko

On the toughest part of your decision process:

“I knew back in September/August, maybe most of last season, that if I was going to play next year it was going to be something like this.  Whether it was going to work with this team or another, I had to come to grips on that.  Accepting of the role, I’m probably way ahead of everyone else on that whether it’s people on the outside, the media, my family and friends because I knew where this was headed.  I knew that if I wanted to continue to play this is where it was going to head.  I’m excited about it because I probably wouldn’t be coming back to any situation if I knew I was slated to play a lot. This will be it for me.”

 On assisting the coaching staff:

“I would never insult a coach with thinking that anything on the player’s side comes anywhere close to what they have to deal with and what have to do to do their jobs.  I don’t look at it like that.  It might give me a little taste of perspective because I will have more time off to watch a game as a coach might to give me some insight to what they go through that if years down the road I decide or if an opportunity comes up it might turn me off to it or it might turn me on to it.”

“The biggest conversations that I have had were with Robin and also with Todd Steverson.  I just wanted Steverson to know that, I don’t know how many games I’ll play or how much I’ll be in there, there is going to be a lot more time when I’m not playing and a lot more time when I’m talking to guys which leads to hitting.  I just wanted to get off on the right foot with him and let him know that he is the guy.  I didn’t want to have a situation where I would have to go through six months of being afraid to talk hitting with a guy, but he made me feel nothing but welcomed and told me many times that he hopes I  come back.”

On accepting his new role:

“The one thing about this role is there will be more time I won’t be playing. I’m hoping to bring back the things that made me good throughout my career. If I can help to get guys going and turn things around, that is where my energy will be spent.”

“I hope I can impact some games in a good way. My only goal is to come back, do what I am asked and get this team going in the right direction.”

“Just getting into the fact that I’m not the guy anymore.  I had my time in the sun.  It kills me to see some of the guys we have not having their time in the sun as well as they should.  We should be having guys that are making All-Star Games that are getting monster contracts that are doing all these things.  At this point in my career I can look back and say I’ve done all that, because I have; it’s in the book.  I’m just hoping that some of these guys can realize their potential.  It just kills me to see some of these guys not doing as well as they can be doing.”

On having a farewell tour:

“I sure hope not.  If anyone thinks that about me, he doesn’t know me and I certainly don’t want that.  The easiest thing for me to do would have been to just retire.” 



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